Sometimes working in human rights makes me feel a bit of an outsider to the American political establishment. Many of our clients are detained for years, sometimes even deported to countries where they are tortured, before receiving protection in the United States.
Then I read an article like this: Losing my religion for equality by Former President Jimmy Carter. In this moving article the Former President calls out those religious leaders who choose to name the subjugation of women as an article of faith:
At its most repugnant, the belief that women must be subjugated to the wishes of men excuses slavery, violence, forced prostitution, genital mutilation and national laws that omit rape as a crime. But it also costs many millions of girls and women control over their own bodies and lives, and continues to deny them fair access to education, health, employment and influence within their own communities.
It feels good to have a mainstream political leader, and man of faith, ardently condemn these gender-based persecutions. Because of my internship this summer, I cannot view these persecutions abstractly. I have individual names and faces to represent “slavery, violence, forced prostitution, genital mutilation and national laws that omit rape as a crime.” I cannot see past them to a political reality where human rights are objects of compromise.
I guess Jimmy Carter cannot either.
“If you keep your head and heart going in the right direction, you won’t have to worry about your feet.”– Nigerian proverb